Sean W. Wakely

Founder and Principal Adviser

Academic Author Advisers

Sean possesses a successful thirty-year track record as a higher education senior publishing executive. Long and varied experience makes him the ideal partner to advise, coach, and provide useful insights to both new and seasoned higher education authors and content experts.  Some key reasons clients can rely on Sean are:

Extensive experience in how publishers negotiate.  As managing editor and editorial director at several higher education publishers, Sean coached hundreds of acquisitions editors on negotiation strategies. As an author adviser, Sean puts this intimate knowledge of academic publishers’ typical goals and negotiation tactics to work for his clients.

Appreciates the value of strong author/publisher relationships.  Sean built his career on open and collaborative author-publisher working relationships.  As an acquisitions editor, executive editor, editorial director, and senior executive Sean consistently worked hand-in-hand with authors to devise new features and key product enhancements to capture market share.   Such innovations were sparked by Sean’s deep knowledge of customers married with authors’ unique strengths as researchers, scholars, and teachers.

Understands how higher education learning materials are marketed and sold.  Sean began his publishing career as a generalist sales representative. Throughout his career Sean actively mentored and worked alongside sales representatives to recruit promising authors and close adoption business. As president of Wadsworth Publishing, Sean implemented a market development program that doubled the success rate of first editions and key revisions compared to historical performance.

Deep knowledge of excellent product development practices.  For over two decades Sean managed teams totaling several hundred editors.  He and his group worked closely with authors to develop and deliver innovative, competitive, and high-quality textbooks and digital learning materials.  Sean also served as the senior executive in charge of higher education and high school product development programs for a leading global educational publisher.  He led the development of new processes, training, and communication strategies to educate digital content developers, editors, and authors on more effective product development and digital innovation strategies.

Breadth of experience across the curriculum.  Sean led editorial, marketing, production, and digital media teams for Wadsworth, a nearly $1 billion publishing division. Wadsworth posted consistent, strong performance in the areas of the social sciences, English, developmental studies, student success, humanities, fine arts, world languages, life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics/statistics. As part of an expanded role, Sean assumed management of business and economics product development, thus rounding out his curricular background.

Understands how both large and small publishing companies work.  Sean’s first acquisitions editor positions were for market-leading teacher education and history lists at small publishers.  As a result, he values the intimacy between authors and publishers that is enabled by modest size.  Through subsequent experience in global publishing companies, Sean also developed deep insights into how large publishers operate and their perspectives on customers and authors.

Maintains strong connections.  If an Advisers’ client needs expert legal, auditing, accounting, or in-depth product development advice or support, the chances are that Sean can identify a good match.  After nearly three decades in the higher education publishing industry, if Sean doesn’t personally know the right professional to refer he can find excellent options quickly.

For more information and recommendations, see Sean’s LinkedIn profile:  linkedin.com/in/seanwakely


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